Rainy day blues.


I was talking to my mom the other day about how boring small towns can be during rainy season.

“Mom. There just isn’t anything to do, I’ve done it all,” I complained to her.

Rain here is NOT like rain in America. Rain here kills your power for hours if not days, kills your access to clean water for months (a phenomenon I have yet to understand), and really the rain kills all motivation.

“You mean you want me to go outside in the cold and rain? No thanks. I’ll stay inside looking like an idiot with 20 layers on.”

So with all of that at hand I have diagnosed myself with the rainy day blues. *cue the sad violin playing in the corner* So what do I actually do with myself during the rainy season? Great question. Let’s go through a typical day in the life of Carla.

6:00 – 7:00 am~ Wake up and attempt to get out of bed. If there happens to be power, boil some water for coffee (this always aids in the attempt). If there is no water, give up and go back to sleep; it’s just not going to happen.

7:00 – 8:00 am~ Get ready for work. Find some not too dirty clothes, brush hair (often quite the task) and brush your teeth. Carla, this really takes you an hour? You may be asking. The answer? Yes. It’s difficult to make yourself presentable when you haven’t showered in 2 weeks or can’t do laundry because there hasn’t been water for a month.

8:00 – 8:45 am~ Have a mental debate whether you actually have to go to work, ultimately landing on yes as your final answer. And yes this internal debate generally takes 45 minutes.

9:00 – 12:00am~ Head to work, where ever that might be that week. Lately I’ve been heading to the hospital to work on their gardens. During this time I’m chatting with my new friend Habtamu, the hired gardener at the hospital. Conversations are generally 2/3 Amharic and 1/3 English when my brain starts getting tired.

12:30 – 1:00pm~ Try to cook a quick lunch or get things ready for lunch before getting called in for Buna by the little girls in my compound. “Carla, nay buna” <Carla, come coffee> seems to be a phrase I never mind getting screamed at me.

1:00 – 2:00 pm~ Drink the “standard” 5 cups of coffee ceremony because as my landlady states “Carla you get more because you really like coffee” I’m sure it’s just because she makes too much and I’m willing to drink it, but I guess it’s true. These 5 small cups plus my two normal glasses of coffee in the morning to get out of bed are really going to do me in sometime. Too much caffeine. With coffee comes the news with me trying my hardest to listen along in Amharic… not being too far off half the time. When the train crashes happened in Spain I was listening to the story and in the first few seconds I met my demise. Babur.. what the hell does babur mean? They keep talking about a train crash but what does babur mean? DUH Carla… Babur means train. Idiot. After the news we change it to Ethiopian music videos and stories from the 5 and 6 year olds who are filling us in with the latest neighborhood drama.

2:00 – 4:00 pm~ Cook and eat lunch and try to get some “secondary” work done in my house. Lately it’s been job searching or working on a video about our summer camp, but it really varies. I’ve got to be honest though, sometimes I just watch hours of 24 the TV show.

4:00 – 7:00 pm~ Dinner! Ya, sometimes it does take me the full 3 hours to cook something. Otherwise I’m just messing around in my house and intermittently signing online and talking to family as they get ready in the morning for work.

7:00 – 9:00pm ~ This is when I either read or watch some movies while constantly checking my watch to see if it’s an acceptable time to go to bed.

9:00pm ~ Curl up in my sleeping bag for the 400th time and go to sleep.

But Carla you only worked for 3 hours that day… Yup. Tough life I know. I do want you guys to know though that the my “job” is only 1/3 of my actual job here in Ethiopia. The other 2/3s consist of me learning and telling you guys about Ethiopian culture, as well as teaching them about my own. Obviously not every day is the same. Thursdays I go to market, Saturdays I spend a lot of time with my compound family doing chores and helping with anything I can.

Looking through this schedule you can tell I spend quite a bit of time by myself. This has allowed me time to think, like really think. If I could schedule in daydreaming I’m sure that would take up most of my time but I’ve also started to try to tackle some major questions. “You’ve lived in Ethiopia for 2 years, was it worth it?” “What are you going to do when you get back to America?” “You’ve changed a lot, how will you feel going back to America?” “Which would win in a fight, grizzly bear or lion?” (I’ve pondered the answer to that one for a while coming up with a grizzly bear winning). “Why does Korem get such extreme weather?” Anyone actually wondering the reason I’ve come up with I’d be happy to share.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. That’s how I pass the time here in Ethiopia, feeding my caffeine addiction, gossiping with 5 year olds, pondering my future, and while I may not enjoy every moment, that’s life. I challenge any of you to ask yourself, do you enjoy every moment? Is sitting in traffic ‘awesome’ and ‘enthralling’? That’s exactly how I feel with my time here. Overall? Ya I love it here, but that doesn’t go without the boring and challenging parts.

Well, catch ya later guys I’m now well within my 3 hour dinner block and nothing is on the stove.